Health Commissioner Persichilli to Young Adults: You Are Not Immune to COVID-19

The state’s top health official took aim at younger adults to maintain COVID-19 protocols to contain the virus in New Jersey.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said as COVID-19 infections rise rapidly across the U.S., she wanted to “especially emphasize to our young people that they are not invincible or immune to COVID-19.”

Persichilli said young adults are the fastest growing group of individuals who are testing positive for the virus.

Up 10 Percent

“In New Jersey, we have seen an increase in the percentage of cases between the ages of 18-29,” said Persichilli at a news briefing July 13. “In April this age group represented 12% of cases; that has risen to 22% of the cases in June.”

The state has recorded nearly 24,000 coronavirus cases between the 18-29 age cohort, resulting in more than 730 residents bening hospitalised because of complications and a total of 53 deaths. 

Gov. Phil Murphy added the greater concern for younger people is not only for their health “but more likely your passing of the virus to somebody more at risk.” 

Take Precautions

“People at any age can get severe illnesses from COVID-19,” Persichilli stated. “We need all residents to continue to take precaution and not to just protect themselves but protect all of us.

Persichilli said in other states as well as New Jersey, concerns are being raised about parties held among young people are leading to uptick in cases. She cited the example of Westfield, whose mayor noted a rise in cases connected to graduation and 4th of July parties.  

“It is vital that young people understand that they are part of the solution to the slowing of the transmission of the COVID-19,” said the commissioner of health.

PSA Targets

Persichilli reiterated wearing masks, washing hands, getting tested and social distancing are all life saving measures that must continue. 

“We all have a responsibility to our families, our loved ones and our community to keep up these efforts to protect our health and theirs,” she said.

The department will begin a public service campaign, which will target young adults, those in vulnerable to being infected by the virus  and communities of color that have hard hit to underscore the importance testing and working with contact tracers to help contain the spread of the virus.

Daily Data

As of July 13, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 175,522 with 231 new cases and 22 new deaths, bringing that total to 13,613. The state probable death count remained at 1,947, bringing the overall total to 15,560.

Persichilli noted deaths that occurred in hospitals over the weeknd numbered at 20, five on Friday, 11 on Saturday and four on Sunday. 

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,828, followed by Bergen at 1,758, Hudson with 1,305, Passaic at 1,066, Morris at 665, Sussex at 158 and Warren with 153.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 272, Essex has 249, Hudson has 179, Passaic 158, Morris 154, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 14.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of July 9 was reported at 1.5%, down from 2.2% on July 6. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one. By region, the north tested at 1.3%, the central at 1.1% and the south 3.5%. 

As for the rate of transmission, it dropped to 0.91 compared with July 11’s 0.98. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.

Officials reported 892 patients are hospitalized with or are under investigation for having coronavirus while 71 patients were discharged. The north tier had 402 patients hospitalized, the central 243 and the south 247.

Of those hospitalized, 166 are in intensive care units and 81 on ventilators. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 19,891, followed by Hudson at 19,135, Essex at 19,039, Passaic at 17,080, Middlesex at 17,059, Union at 16,519, Ocean at 9,828, Monmouth at 9,515, Mercer at 7,795, Camden at 7,716, Morris at 6,909, Burlington at 5,382, Somerset at 5,018, Cumberland at 3,056, Atlantic at 3,023, Gloucester at 2,764, Warren at 1,265, Sussex at 1,230, Hunterdon at 1,094, Salem at 815 and Cape May at 733.

Another 656 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Demographic Breakdown

The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 54% White, 20% Hispanic, 18% Black, 6% Asian and 2% another race. Murphy has noted the rates in the black and Hispanic communities are running about 50% more than their population in the state. 

In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 56% had cardiovascular disease, 45% diabetes, 31% other chronic diseases, 18% neurological conditions, 17% lung diseases, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for confirmed deaths shows 47% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 33% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 5% under the age of 49. 

State officials are tracking cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children who in turn  test positive for COVID-19. Two new cases were reported July 13, bringing the total at 53 for children ranging in age from 1-18. All have tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibodies in their blood. Two are currently hospitalized. No deaths have been reported from the disease. 

Persichilli stated “Black and Hispanic children account for a disproportionately high number” on a national scale. While only a small sample, Persichilli reported the racial breakdown in New Jersey was 39% Hispanic, 34% Black, 16% White, 7% Asian and 5% other.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted currently 439 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 32,600 of the cases, broken down between 21,619 residents and 10,981 staff. 

Cumulative, 558 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 24,422 residents and 12,517 staff, for a total of 36,939 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 6,728 on July 13. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,613 residents deaths and 119 staff deaths. 

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